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Becoming a personal trainer is a long and exciting road to self-employment, independence, and a career you love. However, you should never lose sight of the fact that you run a business. Businesses require investment of time and money.
At the start of your career, this money will go towards training.
There are many ways to fund your education and training.
Here, we present some of the most common and some you may not have considered.
Most people who start out as a Personal Trainer start as an employee of someone else. They work in a regular job during the day and study in the evening, rarely having the luxury of resigning. Once they gain their first qualification, they might take on clients at the weekends and evenings. The money from these first clients are ploughed back into the business to fund further studies. The employment is gradually phased out as they get more clients and continue to upskill.
This is a slow way to finance personal training studies, but widely acknowledged as the most secure. It provides stability and security to keep the job as a safety net while studying.
When a small business or start-up has little to no capital, they need investors. Instead of using banks or other loan providers, they self-finance through personal savings and matured investments. They will also sell personal possessions such as a vehicle, or release equity on a home by downsizing. They typically live frugally– both in their personal and professional lives until they acquire their first clients. As funds increase, they invest whatever small amount of spare cash they have when they can.
The main advantage for bootstrapping to fund personal training studies is that you are unlikely to receive venture capital or find investors while still studying. This means no surrendering a portion of the business to someone else and you will not start out in business saddled with debt.
This is a type of government loan much like those available to university students using similar interest and repayment terms. You can apply for the Advanced Learner Loan so long as you are studying a course at grade 3, 4, 5, or 6; this means anything from A-level upwards. You don’t have to attend a college course as such loans are available for authorised training providers. This includes adult education such as financing personal training studies.
Unlike many other loans listed here, eligibility is not income dependent, and you will not be subject to credit checks. Note: Advanced Learner Loans are available in England only. While Advanced Learner Loans are not available Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, you may be eligible for bursaries. In England, some applicants may also be eligible for an extra bursary.
Advanced Learner Loans should always be the first thing you consider. If for whatever reason, they are not suitable (perhaps you need a larger loan to cover the cost of equipment and premises too), specialist lenders may be a better option. You will find them advertising in trade magazines, and on specialist websites and resources . Unlike banks, they may not require complex details like business plans; ideal for those who are already personal trainers and just looking for funding to study the next level
Loans through Specialist Lenders are more flexible and look at your personal circumstances when deciding. Some specialists are brokers rather than lenders and will try and source the best deal for you across a range of products.
Banks remain one of the most popular sources of funding for small businesses. They offer general loans although some offer specific products for start-ups. Check which your bank offers and ideally choose business loans where available. Their popularity doesn’t however mean that they are the right product for you; before going ahead, make sure you check the terms and conditions. With a business loan, banks will want to see your business plan to ensure viability, and although many are unsecured, some may also require security for the loan which could include your home or business premises".
Just remember that any property used as security may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your loan. You will need to start paying back the loan after a specific time, typically as little as one month. This can be problematic, especially if you don’t currently have another source of income or expect not to make a return for another year.
A modern way to fund education, this will require some great marketing skills and a go-getting attitude. These are great skills to learn for the future of your business, but with crowdfunding you are compelled to start early. Using a site like Crowdfunder, Kickstarter, and Patreon, for example, you petition members of the public to invest a relatively small amount of money to reach a desired target. No one person could fund training worth £2,000 but 400 people willing to contribute an average of £5 each will soon get you started.
Your crowd funders will expect to get something out of it in return. Such sites recommend that the person raising funds offer incentives for doing so. For example, you might want to offer a week-long meal plan for anyone who contributes £10, or for contributions of £25 you might offer a free training session, scaling up through greater perks for higher contributions.
If you have been rejected a bank loan or find their terms too inflexible for your needs, you could look to crowdfunding a loan. These are websites and services that allow you to borrow money from microlenders – typically individuals. Some small business owners prefer this method because of the more flexible terms than regular lenders such as banks. How much you pay back and when is negotiated individually with the site acting as an agent and it need not be regular instalments. For example, you could pay back half the amount after six months (with interest) and the remainder another six months later. If you don’t have the money now but expect to do so in 3, 6, or even 12 months, this could be the option for you.